Earlier this week, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer issued what was widely perceived as an ultimatum to his embattled star running back, Adrian Peterson. Zimmer said simply, “He can play for us, or he can not play.” That brief but strong statement succinctly summarized the stance that Minnesota has taken throughout the entire Peterson saga, and it made it appear that the relationship between coach and player had soured.
But according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, that could not be farther from the truth. As Goessling writes, “it’s believed Peterson and Zimmer talked this week and smoothed things over following the comment, which stemmed more from Zimmer’s fatigue over the topic than any effort to issue Peterson an ultimatum.” Goessling goes on to say that although Peterson still has some reservations about returning to the Vikings, including COO Kevin Warren‘s role in putting Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list last year, his relationship with Zimmer remains an asset to the club.
In fact, Zimmer’s statement was hardly news to Peterson, who apparently realizes that he is not going to talk his way into a trade, even if there were teams that would be willing to make a deal for him. As such, and as PFR’s Zach Links pointed out several days ago, Peterson’s decision to skip OTAs is based solely on his desire to get the Vikings to put their money where their mouth is and to give him a salary guarantee that reflects their words of support.
In the end, Goessling believes Peterson will suit up for the Vikings in the fall, and even though there has not been much progress towards a new salary guarantee at this point, some sort of compromise appears well within the realm of possibility. After all, as we heard just yesterday, most of the Vikings’ moves these days are being made with an eye towards 2016, when they move into a new stadium. If the team didn’t have plans for Peterson to be on the roster during that season, they wouldn’t even be bothering with him.